Monday, August 27, 2007

Radio Insider: Another Mystery Trip, New York City

Here we go again!

Got the heads up that I will be flying out tomorrow for another label thing, this one in NYC. This one is a complete mystery, but I'll try to avoid any more arcade injuries. I'll be there through Wednesday night so expect the full details Thursday.

Like I said earlier this summer, usually these kind of things only happen about once a year and take place in Nashville. So to have two this summer both not in Nashville is pretty cool.

I'll take my bite out of the big apple and let you know what it tastes like when I get back.

Until then, you can read the highlights of my last such excursion here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fall TV Preview, The Weekend...

As I write this, there is a cricket chirping in the room. Apropos, considering I'm getting ready to write about weekend TV. Saturday is the worst of course, with the networks offering top notch programming like "NBC Repeat Dramas" and "Crimetime Saturday" and CW taking the honest route by just packing it in all together and not even going on the air. I guess Friday and Sunday have a few things to see but overall I'm with the cricket.


I'm interested to see what they make of American Band, but that's it. I was almost interested in Nashville, but then read that it was done by the same people who do Laguna Beach. Deal or No Deal followed the tried and true new school game show formula of being very interesting for about a month and a half, and I've heard Friday Night Lights (not to be confused with Friday Night Smackdown!, thier exclamation point, not mine.) is actually a pretty decent show, I just don't have any desire to start watching it. I used to watch Numb3rs, but finally decided I couldn't in good conscious watch any show that substituted numbers for letters in its title.

The color coded breakdown:

Green = Will be programmed on my DVR
Blue = Not for me, but feel free.
= Move along, nothing to see here.


ABC - 20/20
CBS - Ghost Whisperer
CW - Friday Night Smackdown!
Fox - American Band
NBC - Deal or No Deal


ABC - Women's Murder Club
CBS - Moonlight
Fox - Nashville
NBC - Friday Night Lights


ABC - Men In Trees
CBS - Numb3rs
NBC - Las Vegas



Seriously, turn off all noise, close your eyes and imagine that cricket chirping.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Saturday Night College Football
CBS - Crimetime Saturday
Fox - COPS
NBC - Dateline NBC


Fox - America's Most Wanted
NBC - NBC Drama Repets


CBS - 48 Hrs.



Good to see King of the Hill and The Simpsons still kickin', and Extreme Home Makeover is always good for a few tears (Move.... That.... Bus!) Other than that, nothing much to pay attention to. I used to watch Cold Case, but again dropped it to cut down on the procedural dramas and I have never understood the Desperate Housewives thing.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Extreme Home: Makeover
CBS - Viva Laughlin
CW - Life is Wild
Fox - The Simpsons
NBC - Sunday Night Football


Fox - King of the Hill


ABC - Desperate Housewives
CBS - Cold Case
CW - America's Top Model
Fox - Family Guy


Fox - American Dad


ABC - Brothers and Sisters
CBS - Shark

Weekend's Total: Two half hour sit-coms, Two 1 hour Reality, 3 Hours

Final Total: Nine 1 hour dramas, Nine half hour sit-coms, Four and a half 1 hour Reality, 18 hours


Looks like we made it! 3 Hours of weekly time to spare, which will make room for the cable fare I enjoy like Monk or Mythbusters, and returning shows Idol, 24, Lost, and Amazing Race when they reappear in January. And if you think that planning out TV Watching like this seems a bit obsessive and over thought, you do remember whose blog this is, right? I'll take a plan over just flipping on the tube and seeing what's on any day.

In closing, I'd like to thank the inventor of DVR for making all of this possible, and my family for putting up with my obsession.

Enjoy the new season!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fall TV Preview, Thursday...

What is it about Thursday? Cosby Show, Simpsons, Seinfeld, CSI, Friends, Survivor, Smallville, and countless others all found there stride on the night before the weekend begins. It's actually somewhat depressing because my DVR can only record 2 things at once and Thursday is the one night of the week that I can almost guarantee a conflict which will leave one of my shows waiting at the restaurant for a date that will never arrive.

Which shows will be begging the waiter to hold the table for just five more minutes?


Here's the story on Thursday. Of the 13 hours of primetime programming amongst the 5 networks, there are only 2 shows I have no interest in (Big Shots on ABC and Supernatural on CW ). The rest are all shows that I watch, have watched, or would be interested in watching on any other night of the week. The shows that make the cut are the king of Reality Survivor, NBCs comedy 1,2,3 punch (Earl, 30 Rock, and The Office), and the "still fresh after 10 seasons and 2 spin offs" original CSI (seriously, I'm amazed that this show is still so good). Shows I've given up on include Without A Trace (a man can only stand so many of these kind of shows), ER (about 8 years ago I decided it was too much soap and not enough rinse), and the quickly tired Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader (which I liken to doing a show called "Are You Smarter Than a Dog" and then competing against a bloodhound in howling, tracking an escaped convict by smell, and messing on the carpet). The shows that I would probably enjoy but just refuse to start watching are Ugly Betty, Grey's, and Scrubs (on second thought I'll give Scrubs a shot this season). And finally, the shows that I would absolutely watched if my DVR had that elusive third tuner include Smallville and the surely doomed "Don't Forget the Lyrics".

The color coded breakdown:

Green = Will be programmed on my DVR
Blue = Not for me, but feel free.
= Move along, nothing to see here.


ABC - Ugly Betty
CBS - Survivor
CW - Smallville
Fox - Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
NBC - My Name is Earl


NBC - 30 Rock


ABC - Grey's Anatomy
CW - Supernatural
Fox - Don't Forget the Lyrics
NBC - The Office


NBC - Scrubs


ABC - Big Shots
CBS - Without A Trace

Thursday's Total: One 1 hour dramas, Four half hour sit-com,
one 1 hour Reality, 4 hours

Overall Total: Nine 1 hour dramas, Seven half hour sit-coms, Two and a half 1 hour Reality, 15 hours

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fall TV Preview, Wednesday...

After 2 days I'm already at 8 hours of TV out of an eventual 21, the quick math will tell you that if I keep this up, I'll have to cut about 7 hours of TV by the end of the week. The good news is that Saturday is coming and I'd rather watch tumbleweed blow through an old west town than any of the leftovers networks throw up Saturday night (Throwing up leftovers. Never a good thing.)

With Lost out 'til January, anything on Wednesday worth watching?


Midweek TV is all about the new stuff this year. I've already talked last week about how excited I am for Pushing Daisies, and how torn I am on Kid Nation (of which I will only be able to watch half) and Back to You. Bionic Woman rounds out the newbies on Wednesday that will get the chance to live on my DVR. What's funny is I don't plan on watching what will likely be the biggest new show on Wednesday, the Grey's spin off, Private Practice. Never got into Grey's Anatomy don't plan to start now with the sequel. Also of note is that Wednesday holds the most depressing show on TV, CSI:NY. How can you miss when you combine the proven genius of the CSI format with New York City and the amazing Gary Sinise? By making it completely dark, dreary, and dreadful, that's how.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Pushing Daisies
CBS - Kid Nation
CW - America's Next Top Model
Fox - Back to You
NBC - Deal or No Deal


CBS - Kid Nation (2nd half of show)
Fox - Til Death


ABC - Private Practice
CBS - Criminal Minds
CW - Gossip Girls
Fox - Kitchen Nightmares
NBC - Bionic Woman


ABC - Dirty, Sexy, Money
NBC - Life

Wednesday's Total: Two 1 hour dramas, one half hour sit-com,
one half hour Reality, 3 hours

Overall Total: Eight 1 hour dramas, Three half hour sit-coms, One and a half 1 hour Reality, 11 hours

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fall TV Preview, Tuesday...

4.5 hours spent on Monday and 6 nights left to fill the remaining 16.5 on my quest to limit my fall TV schedule to 21 hours a week. Right off the bat I'm heavy on the drama, so lets hope today brings us some Reality or comedy.

Bring it on Tuesday! Whachu got, cuz?!


Tuesday is all about House in our... er... house. It's really the only "DVR better not glitch tonight or I swear I'll chuck it through my plasma" show we've got that day. The Biggest Loser is a blast, but can drag on, and it's kind of like Extreme Home Makeover in that I enjoy seeing other people happy but it makes me frustratingly aware of my own inability to lose weight (or build a dream home in 7 days). Cavemen and The Reaper will get the 3 ep test (check last weeks blog for more on that) and that's about it. The Singing Bee completely failed its 3 ep test, so I won't be watching that. Bones is a decent show but if Im gonna land anywhere near 21 I have to be picky (procedural dramas are the first to go). And despite the fact that I kinda miss Boston Legal (well, technically I miss Spader and Shatner) I'm not going back to it now.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Cavemen
CW - Beauty and the Geek
Fox - Bones
NBC - The Biggest Loser


ABC - Carpoolers


ABC - Dancing with the Stars
CBS - The Unit
CW - Reaper
Fox - House
NBC - The Singing Bee


ABC - Boston Legal
CBS - Cane
NBC - Law and Order: SVU

Tuesday's Total: Two 1 hour dramas, one half hour sit-com, One 1 hour Reality, 3.5 hours

Overall Total:
Six 1 hour dramas, Two half hour sit-coms, One 1 hour Reality, 8 hours

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fall TV Preview, Monday...

If you aren't planning on watching TV much, then this week at Rollin' may not be for you. Don't worry, next Monday I will be back to all the pointless over thinking of all areas of culture, but this week it's all about the Fall TV season. We are less than a month from some of these premiers so it's time to get your DVRs all warmed up and in shape for September.

Everyday this week we will look at the current day of the week and what will be on that night (Friday, we will look at the weekend). It's my task every year to limit my TV viewing each week to 21 hours, so in going through the schedules I will rate each show red, yellow, or green. Green means I will be watching (at least initially), blue that I won't but you might, and red that I refuse to believe anyone is interested. At the end of the week I will add my total hours up and cut what I need to get down to 21 hours.


Monday belongs to NBC for me. Chuck to Heroes to Journeyman has the chance to be the biggest triple play ever if the two new shows pan out. Heroes, of course, should be a staple of any weekly TV diet, and Rules of Engagement has some great chemistry between David Spade and Patrick Warburton (Emperor's New Groove, anyone?) which is why I will probably watch. Prison Break should have been a one season show, and since they didn't stop it then, I did. CSI: Miami remains the best worst show on TV and worth my hour simply to see Caruso ham it up each week.

The color coded breakdown:


ABC - Dancing with the Stars
CBS - How I Met Your Mother
CW - Everybody Hates Chris
Fox - Prison Break
NBC - Chuck


CBS - The Big Bang Theory
CW - Aliens in America


CBS - Two and a Half Men
CW - Girlfriends
Fox - K-Ville
NBC - Heroes


ABC - Samantha Who?
CBS - Rules of Engagement
CW - The Game


ABC - The Bachelor
CBS - CSI: Miami
NBC - Journeyman

Monday's total: Four 1 hour dramas, one half hour sit-com, 4.5 hours

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Freespin: On Little Guys Beating the Big Guys...

Couple things today as we head into the weekend, both dealing with the underdog rocking the worlds of the favorite.

The first underdog in the spotlight is Bryon Gaynor. If the name doesn't strike you as familiar, the picture might. He performed live on the So You Think You Can Dance finale this week and was by far the best thing about the 2 hour finale. So good in fact that I can tell you exactly when he performs because I have fast forwarded to it many times. 45 minutes into the show, the dude does his thing and the place explodes. Sabre may have won, but Bryon is my hero. Check out more of his stuff on Youtube under the name "Chibotics"

The other underdog to take out the big guy this week is Nintendo. Now it may seem weird to some to think of Nintendo as the underdog. But since the original Playstation, Sony has owned the gaming industry. Now with the success of the Wii, Nintendo looks like they are back on top. And now the numbers back it up. By most accounts, Nintendo will officially be the best selling "next gen" console sometime in the next few days. Selling more overall units than even the 360 even though they had a full year's head start. Check out for all the data, and if you doubt the numerical evidence, just try finding one. The things been out for almost a year and it's still a tough catch. Incredible.

Back Monday to kick off the Fall TV preview.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

3 Episode Test for New TV...

Word is out today that NBC will release their freshman fall shows to "On Demand" carriers in the next few weeks. This basically means that if you are a satellite or Cable DVR subscriber you should see these shows in your On Demand section soon, and at no cost. It should give me a nice head start on my "3 episode test" theory, which is that any new show can be properly loved or dismissed by watching 3 episodes, no more and no less. I usually pick out a handful of new shows that pique my interest each season to try out and this TV season is no different.

Here's the new stuff this year that I will be giving the 3 Ep test, in order from the shows I'm least excited about to the most.

Kid Nation
Wednesday, CBS, 8

Truth be told, I hate myself for even wanting to watch this. The premise that children on their own will somehow show the adult world how it's supposed to work is something that must have been invented by non parents. Plus, it seems the worst kind of exploitative to put children in this situation and film them. I was somewhat ok with it til I looked at the cast list and saw some 7 and 8 year olds. I have an 8 year old and it sickens me to think of putting him through a reality TV show like this. Thankfully, I will only be able to DVR the last half hour of this one, since two other shows I want to see (one of which is #1 on this very list) already air at 8 on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, ABC, 8

Admit it, you slow down when you pass car wrecks. You scan the scene with a morbid curiosity. Well, that feeling is exactly why this show based on the cavemen from the Geico commercials (a concept directly taken from Phil Hartman's classic Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer skit on SNL) will get the 3 ep test. That's right, a TV show based on a commercial based on a SNL skit. It looks so awful, I just... can't... look... away.

Bionic Woman
Wednesday, NBC, 9

I wasn't really at all interested in this one until I read a couple of very positive views referencing Alias. Hmm, Alias? Alright, I'll give this retread a chance.

Tuesday, CW, 9

Kevin Smith directs the pilot and produces the show. Doesn't mean anything to you? Oh, ok, how 'bout the premise? "Slacker geek Sam discovers his parents sold his soul to Satan before he was even born. And now, on his 21st birthday, the evil one has come to collect. Luckily, Sam can work off his debt by rounding up escaped evil souls and shipping them back down to hell." Still not your cup o' tea? Yeah, I guess your right, never mind. (silently slinks off to secretly program DVR, hoping no one will question his Christianity for doing so.)

Back to You
Wednesday, FOX, 8

Probably the show I'm most on the fence about. This new sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton could be Newsradio great or a Joey type nightmare. I haven't seen enough to know which way it is leaning but if the leads have the chemistry it might be the first conventional sitcom I have liked in a long, long time.

Monday, NBC, 8

It stars the guy I really liked in "Less than Perfect" and has a pretty cool concept (everyday dude becomes CIAs most wanted when loads of sensitive material is downloaded directly to his brain.) It also looks as if there is a big dose of humor. Can't wait to see if it works.

American Band
Friday, FOX, 8

Plain and simple, American Idol meets your local independent garage band. I'm there.

Monday, NBC, 10

Maybe my nostalgic longing for new Quantum Leap episodes has infected my usually over analytical brain, but I'm pretty excited about this new time travel show. In fact, I think it's enough like Leap that if I play the theme song from Quantum Leap before watching each episode I can almost trick myself into seeing Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell instead of whoever they have in this one. Woo-Hoo Quantum Leap is back baby!

Pushing Daisies
Wednesday, ABC, 8

The sure fire show to fill the "Wife of Dice" begrudgingly addicted slot. Every season there is one show that I get excited about that my wife does not want to start watching. I usually leave them on the DVR "just in case" she wants to check them out, which is closely followed by her quick descent into fandom and addiction. Lost and The Office have both filled this slot in the past, but this year I'm pretty sure it's gonna be Pushing Daisies. I don't know that I could do the premise justice so here's the official write up. "As a young boy, Ned discovered his touch could bring dead people back to life. But if he touched them again, they died again ... this time for good. Now an adult, Ned learns of the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, and he revives her -- knowing they can never come into physical contact again." When lost returns in January, ABC will own Wednesdays with a powerful one two punch. That is, of course, as long as Pushing Daisies passes the 3 ep test.

I'll let you know October 24th.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From the Archives: Day After Tomorrow Review...

In January of 2004 I started my first website to vent on all things pop culture. I updated and ran this site for over 2 years posting occasional reviews and ramblings. After burning out on the website thing I took a 6 month break and did not renew my domain. Still needing some sort of outlet I started this blog in January of this year. Since I do not wish those reviews and posts to be lost, I thought I would begin posting them here. So this one is more for me than you, oh wait, this whole thing is more for me than you. Well, whatever the case, each week we shall take a look into the past, all the way back to (start Conan O'Brien impression here) the year 2000--uh--4.

With the summer coming to a close, I thought I'd take a look back at one of the summer tent pole movies of 2004 that didn't work. I have a deserved reputation as the guy that seems to love every movie that comes out, so I thought I'd present the case for the opposition. You may not even remember "The Day After Tomorrow", but when it came out 3 years ago it was supposed to be huge. Turns out, when you let your preachiness get in the way of your storytelling your movie suffers (lesson for "Christian filmakers", hmmm?) Here's the full review.


Storm Warning
("The Day After Tomorrow" PG-13)
(Monday Review 6/7/4)

WARNING: This review may cause drowsiness, please consult a physician before proceeding.

There are warnings on everything these days. A possible result of so many frivolous lawsuits, this cacophony of caution can be downright ridiculous. I don't need McDonalds to tell me not to pour hot coffee on my lap, and I don't need my steak knives labeled "Warning: Stabbing knife into body may cause pain."

Roland Emmerich's (Independence Day) new flick "The Day After Tomorrow" is one more useless warning label disguised as a big budget disaster movie. Emmerich never hides the fact that he made this movie to wake up all us polluters to the potential disaster awaiting us if we don't quit driving SUVs and using hairspray, but before I get too bogged down in ridiculing his environmentally extremist views, let's set the stage.

Government climatologist Jack Hall (played with unfortunate sincerity by Dennis Quaid) has discovered on a recent trip to the North Pole that large scale climate changes may be coming based on how falling ice chunks affect the temperature of our ocean currents. (That's about as scientific as it gets, friends) Before you can say "Chicken Little" the environment starts to retaliate for all those years of neglect by pummeling us with hail disguised as bowling balls, tornadoes in LA, and a wave that leaves people bobbing in the Big Apple. The rest of the story focuses on a son's struggle to survive (Jake Gyllenhaal does his best Tobey Macguire impersonation as Jack's son Sam.), a father's journey to find him, and a nation's regret for not recycling more.

Speaking of separating the usable stuff from the junk, let's break down the MCQ.

Message - The overall message is as clear as they come, we must work to protect our environment or we will destroy the planet someday. Now, I try to be as environmentally friendly as the next guy, (With gas prices this high, believe me, I'm beggin' for an alternative fuel source.) but this is way over the top. In fact, I've recently heard interviews from other environmentalists who hate this movie because they feel it undermines the seriousness of their cause. And as far as that goes there is no answer given in the film. We are never pointed in the direction of the culprit, and therefore are left with no practical application to keep mother nature from attacking. Having said all this, I actually think there are a few positive themes in this movie amongst the Earth Day sermons. First I really enjoyed the father/son aspect of the story. When in trouble the son finds a way to contact his dad knowing that this stuff is his cup o' tea. What he does with his father's instructions is key to what happens in the rest of the film, and the same is true in my life. My "Father" has all the answers and if I can just stay in touch with Him, what I do with His instructions will have an ultimate impact on my story. Along with this, the theme of warning others resonated deeply with me. In a very powerful scene (the highlight of the film for me), Sam (the son) tries to pass on the warning his father gave to him to hundreds of people who file past him. He knows that they are headed to their death if they don't listen, yet he can do nothing to stop them, and in the end only a handful pay attention. How can you make people listen? How can you make them believe? It not about who is right and who is wrong, it's about who lives and who dies. A powerful message, but only when you shift it to a more secure foundation.

Content - This is a light 13, I'm guessing it's mostly for the impact of so many deaths, though only a few are up close and personal and even then nothing is extremely graphic. There is very little innuendo or language making this a fairly pollution free movie overall.

Quality - There's no denying the effects in this movie are astonishing. I loved the sheer hugeness of it all, and there were plenty of times I found mouth agape in wonder. Once you wipe the drool from your chin (and armrest) though, there's not much else to cheer about. The acting is only satisfactory, the writing is glib, and the score is distracting. At least ID4 had Will Smith and Jeff Goldbloom to liven things up.

In the end you may find this an enjoyable flick, if for no other reason than the eye candy. But if you are looking for substance or greatness you won't find much of it here.

Remember, you've been warned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Workaholic Intervention (8.13.7)...

Work is too important in our culture. For too long we have worshiped workaholism and put way too much emphasis on work ethic. So to help people break free of the bonds of overexertion. In light of this, every Monday, I will post a video or a game as simple online time-wasters. Something to keep you less productive at work, home, or school, you know, just so you don't work so hard. It's for your own good.

The following is over 8 minutes of the most compelling wildlife footage I've ever seen (Dramatic Rodent included). A pack of lions nabs a baby buffalo from a small herd and is in the midst of securing their kill when a crocodile from a nearby lake decides to claim the buffalo for himself. The lions manage to pull the meal from the croc, but what's this? The buffaloes are returning and they brought friends. What happens next is a treat to watch.

Monday, August 13, 2007

2007: The Best Summer for Movies Ever?...

I was looking at the highest grossing movies of all time this morning, and was struck by the fact that 5 movies that came out this summer appear to be on their way to the top 25 of all time and over 300 million each. And after 3 straight weeks of the top grossing movies making almost 10-20 million more than expected (Simpson's 70 mill, Bourne 70 mill, Rush Hour 50 mill) I think it's pretty evident that people are going to the movies more than ever before.

For fun, the top 10 money making summers for the film industry (based only on movies to crack the top 50)

10. 2005 - 380.3 Million (all from Star Wars Episode III)

9. 1982 - 399 Million (all from ET)

8. 1996 - 548.1 Million (Independence Day and Twister)

7. 1994 - 658.2 Million (Forrest Gump and The Lion King)

6. 2006 - 667.4 Million (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Cars)

5. 1999 - 724.6 Million (Star Wars Episode I: and The Sixth Sense)

4. 2002 - 955.8 Million (Spider-Man, Star Wars Episode II, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

3. 2004 - 1.059 Billion (Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, and Harry Potter: Azkaban)

2. 2003 - 1.169 Billion (Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix Reloaded, and Bruce Almighty)

1. 2007 - 1.539 Billion+ (Spider-Man 3 , Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Transformers, and Harry Potter: Phoenix)

Is the case closed? Is 2007 the best summer for movies ever? I'm partial to 2003 and 1996, but have a hard time arguing with the sheer numbers. How 'bout you?

By the way, is it only coincedence that my birth is situated the summer between the two movies that are widely established as the genesis of the summer event movie, Jaws and Star Wars? I'm not sure what that means, but it must mean something right?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Re: Bourne...

I just realized I saw The Bourne Ultimatum a week ago and haven't even mentioned it on my blog. Unfortunately, I just don't have time these days for full reviews (which I'm sure actually frustrates me much more than you), but I couldn't let this one escape without mentioning.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a perfect movie.

Not as in "without flaw" perfect, but as in the biblical definition perfect, to fulfill it's intended purpose. It is the perfect Bourne film, and director Paul Greengrass (United 93) continues his gift for making movies that feel absolutely real in unreal situations. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in just 3 films surpasses Bond as my favorite super spy (Juni and Carmen Cortez combine for a distant third, and yes that was a Spy Kids reference, and yes I'm serious). Bourne bests Bond for many reasons only a few of which I will delineate here.

- Bourne is middle class not high society. Suits? Martinis? Fancy cars? You might as well throw a top hat and monocle on 007. Bourne is just a regular looking guy who hijacks junk cars for his chases, and would never once be mistaken for the monopoly guy.

- Bourne has some MacGyver DNA. Bourne's knack for improvising and perfect set ups outcool Bond's ridiculous pre made gadgets that he inevitable has to use at the crucial point any day.

- Bourne the chaste. Well, not quite. But still, Jason Bourne's only real love interest was killed in movie 2 and she still drives the plot. Bourne is truly a monogamous spy.

The latest Bond actually attempts to address all three of these issues, to decent effect, but you know you are in trouble when you are imitating the new guy.

Beyond Bourne's impressive character, this movie sticks because it puts the audience exactly where we need to be at every turn. The last director to own an audience like this was M. Knight, and Greengrass's skill was evident at every gasp, laugh, and cheer that took place in that crowded theater last Friday.

A definite recommendation from me and another notch on the barrel of what has turned out to be an amazing summer for movies.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

From the Archives: "Wonderfalls" Review...

In January of 2004 I started my first website to vent on all things pop culture. I updated and ran this site for over 2 years posting occasional reviews and ramblings. After burning out on the website thing I took a 6 month break and did not renew my domain. Still needing some sort of outlet I started this blog in January of this year. Since I do not wish those reviews and posts to be lost, I thought I would begin posting them here. So this one is more for me than you, oh wait, this whole thing is more for me than you. Well, whatever the case, each week we shall take a look into the past, all the way back to (start Conan O'Brien impression here) the year 2000--uh--4.

In March 2004, I found myself invested already in a whimsical gem of a show that would eventually find itself littered on the FOX scrapheap of wasted genius. (Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Arrested Development, Reunion, and this years Drive all live there.) It was nice to see star Caroline Dhavernas (pictured) is doing movies now (you may have seen her in Breach) but she was perfect for this show. Here is the full review, my first in the world of TV.

(By the way, you can add a third note at the beginning of the article, that they did indeed eventually release more episodes with a season 1 DVD, that I still think is worth renting if you missed the minuscule opportunity to see it on the air.)


Oh, How Wonderfalls
Wonderfalls (Fox - Friday - 9PM)

Note: Wonderfalls may be moving to Thursday's at 9PM (I have a great programming idea, let's put one of our best new shows up against CSI and The Apprentice, no one' s watching those!)

Note #2: Wonderfalls has been canceled, figures the first TV show I review is canceled less than a week after I review it! They are trying to get a DVD deal to release the rest of the season, we shall see.

Behold, the power of cheese. Sliced, shredded, melted, or ahem... cut, few foods match it's universal appeal. At home on your burger, taco, cracker, popcorn, apples, salad, or even in your cake (come on, you love cheese cake); next to peanut butter, it is possibly the most versatile topping around. In fact, I once dipped cheese in peanut butter to see what would happen and, surprisingly, when I took a bite there was no taste. I theorize they must be at opposite sides of the condiment spectrum and therefore cancel each other out. But that's a discussion for another time. Where was I? Oh yeah, cheese. So why is something so universal, so maligned? Why is something that is cliché and hammy (pork, the other maligned food) referred to as "cheesy".

Which brings us to Fox's Friday night quirk fest, "Wonderfalls".

Now before you get the idea that I think this show is "cheesy", I actually only mention it because cheese is a central plot point of this week's show (I said it was quirky, didn't I?). Only 3 episodes into it's existence, and all ready this show is exhibiting signs of greatness. Since this is "Siphonics", let's break down the MCQ (For those playing at home, that's Message, Content, Quality).

We will start with Quality:

This show is funny, really funny. Though Wonderfalls likely best fits the genre of "Dramedy", it's laugh-a-line pace makes it play out as more of an hour long comedy. Notice I say comedy not "sit-com", as the latter has become more associated with punch-lines than humor. This is the "sit-com" of the future, longer, no laugh track (I have my own sense of humor, you don't need to tell me where to laugh, thank you very much.), and most importantly, real characters and real issues. (Another Fox gem, Arrested Development, fits the same bill, though no one is watching, which of course is what happens when you put it on during the last half hour of Alias, but I digress) So who are these "real characters"? The centerpiece is Jaye. A "Generation Y" slacker, she struggles with identity and purpose. Though she has a philosophy degree, she lives in a trailer park, and earns her living in retail, shucking wares at a Niagra tourist trap shop named Wonderfalls. Her family swirls around her in a constant reminder of her inadequacy. Her father is a successful doctor; her mom, a best selling author. Big brother? He has his doctorate in Theology, while her sister is a lawyer. As if this weren't struggle enough, one day the souvenirs in her shop start talking to her. Each episode their guidance leads her to explore the world around her in a new way and help those around her. Before you begin calling it "Jaye of Wondercadia", there is one big difference between this and the other "messages from on high" Friday drama. Whereas Joan knows where her messages are coming from, Jaye is left to ponder the origin of her instructions. At this point she's pretty sure it's one of 3 things; God, Satan, or her own loss of sanity (My guess is they talk to her because it's a great plot device to push forward the story.) The writing in this show is smart and inventive, and the plots are detailed yet not contrived. High quality stuff, moving on.


Not much to discuss here, except to mention a few content issues you might want to be aware of. Drinking: Much of the story and conversation occurs over drinks at Jaye's favorite bar. As in most mainstream media, the drinking is portrayed as a social norm, and the best way to "hang out" with friends and family. Sexuality: We find out (with Jaye) in the first episode that her older sister is a Lesbian. Nothing explicit is shown or discussed, and the show has yet to center a storyline around it. Until then, we won't know how they will handle this hot button issue. Language: Consistent with most primetime TV. (Raymond, CSI, Survivor, etc.)


Television is perhaps the hardest medium to gauge overall message. Since it airs in episodic fashion, we are really only getting part of an unknown whole. Still, you can often figure out the heart of a show in a few short episodes (Disclaimer: Past performance is not indicative of future results.) I'll just briefly mention that Episodes 1 and 2 dealt primarily with the topics of reconciliation and finding purpose amidst mediocrity, respectively. So heading into Friday's episode, we had already established that this was a show with a point. So what was the point of this week's Wonderfalls? Primarily it's about finding real faith in a world of real pain.

A priest finds out he has a daughter from his life before the priesthood.

Jaye's bartender (and future boyfriend, methinks) deals with forgiving his newlywed wife (who had an affair on their honeymoon) and whether he should return to her and try and reconcile.

But the main plot involves a straying nun who has run away from her convent in search of a God who will talk to her out loud. (To this, of course, Jaye responds that it's not as freeing as you might think.) So, what leads this straying nun to doubt? Well, her love of cheese, of course. You see, while pondering a plate of Nachos, Sister Katrina, begins to wonder if her existence is no more important than the existence of Colby Jack. That something she loves so much could, in the end, be nothing more than a plate of properly processed bacteria, makes her wonder if indeed she is nothing more than properly processed bacteria, herself. Despite how it sounds, it truly is a wonderful exploration of faith in the real world. The only reason it doesn't score higher for message is that the show for the most part embraces the idea of relative truth. Then again, what did you expect in our post modern world.

So, if you want to check out a show where it's more about humor than a punch-line, where the characters are treated as people rather than parts, where you can think and laugh at the same time, and where you will agree with some points and disagree with others, than this is the show for you.

In the end, it's about finding the perfect combination of meat and cheese.

But then again, I love cheese.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

10 Favorite CDs through July...

Simple: These are my 10 favorite full album releases I've dug into since it turned 2007. I would heartily recommend any of them for your purchase.

In Reverse Order:

10. KJ-52 - The Yearbook

9. Wavorly - Conquering the Fear of Flight

8. Group 1 Crew - Group 1 Crew

7. Plumb - Blink

6. Heath McNease - The Heath McNease Fan Club Meets Tonight

5. Britt Nicole - Say It

4. Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity

3. Family Force 5 - Business up Front, Party in the Back

2. Relient K - Five Score and 7 Years Ago

1. Toby Mac - Portable Sounds

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Who Ya' Rooting For...

Just curious who you are rooting for in the reality shows you watch. It feels like we are far enough in them to make the calls, what do you think? Not who you think will win, who do you think should win?

So You Think You Can Dance

3. Danny
2. Lacey (Benji's sis)
1. Sabra

Last Comic Standing

3. Doug (Best Week Ever alum)
2. Matt (British child)
1. Lavell ("Cause I wanna live" guy)

Big Brother 8

3. Jameka (God has it all planned girl)
2. Amber (Cries at the drop of a hat girl)
1. Erik (America's Player)

America's Got Talent

3. Cas (Unique singing dad)
2. Butterscotch (Beatbox singing girl)
1. Terry (Ventriloquist singing impersonator)

On the Lot

2. Jason (backwards hat Christian guy)
1. Will (since week one's "Lucky Penny")

How bout you?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Workaholic Intervention (8.6.7)...

Two Heads are better than One....

My mom works both at Disney World and the Orlando airport (for Northwest). Aside from getting us into Wally World free when we head down and allowing them to fly anywhere without dropping any cash, it also affords her some "brushes with fame". This past week while checking people in at the ticket counter she looked up to see Abigail and Brittany Hensel. I'm sure she let out a gasp when she saw them, not because she knew who they were, but because well... It's hard to explain.

Maybe this will help...

Now, I'm sure they weren't wearing winter clothes in O Town, but even if they were I have a feeling it wouldn't be the first thing out of place people would notice about them. Seeing a girl with two heads, or more accurately two girls with one body, is surreal enough experience when it is a photo but I can't imagine how strange it would be to meet them. This isn't to make light of their life at all. In fact, reading through their Wikipedia entry, they appear to be pretty amazing girls, and you have to admire there cooperation skills.

Still, just seeing them presses my curious button like crazy, so indulge me and hopefully no cats will be killed.

- Are there just two heads or do they have duplicate organs too? (A: 2 hearts, 1 ribcage, 3 lungs, 3 kidneys, 1 liver, 2 stomachs, 2 gallbladers, every thing intestines down is shared.)

- Who feels the need to "use the facilities"? And if it's both, do you think they argue over whether they really have to go or not? (A: no idea, for some reason these issues aren't addressed)

- Do they each eat half the food they need? And if one went on a fast would she even feel it? (A: Yes, and No, One could quit eating and not be much worse the wear)

- Who controls what? (A:Left head controls left arm and leg, right head controls right arm and leg.)

- Two Souls? (A:Only God knows, but I would think it's certainly yes.)

- If they both get saved do they get two glorified bodies in heaven or just one? (A: Doesn't need one, I'm just a smart alec.)

- When they argue is the phrase "Well, don't bite my head off, ok?" forbidden? (A: Same)

- If they get married do they have to convert to Mormonism? (A: Ok, so I'm not really curious, I just wanted an excuse to make jokes.)

Anyhow an incredible story and I wish I could have met them in person.

Some more Hensel pics and a video to keep you from working too hard today...